Stephen Frears is probably one of the most successful directors that most Americans have never heard of because his movies tend to be highly British. However, he does enjoy some solid success when he comes over to this side of the Atlantic with the popular films “The Grifters” and “High Fidelity”. The latter film, adapted from Nick Hornby’s book, was a box office flop but has developed a strong cult following over the years. Now it looks like he may reunite with the film’s screenwriter D.V. DeVincentis for another adaptation. This time they’re going for geeky gamblers rather than music nerds. Hit the jump for details.
According to THR, Frears and DeVincentis would re-team for “Lay the Favorite”, based on Beth Raymer’s upcoming memoir “Lay the Favorite, Take the Dog”. As THR describes the plot, it looks like this film could be a lot of fun:
Raymer’s memoir is set amid a group of fiftyish math geeks who figure out how to work the sportsbook system in Las Vegas for their own profit. It centers on a woman in her early thirties who has made a series of bad choices but achieves a redemption of sorts when she meets and then becomes involved with the gamblers.
Here’s how DeVincent describes his take on the material:
“It’s a less violent, less sketchy version of the mob,” DeVincentis said of the colorful gamblers, who are based on real people. “This is the version of 50-year-old math geeks from Queens in basketball shorts who have pet guinea pigs.”
This sounds like a much better version of “21” where the geeks aren’t afraid to be geeky and the roles seem perfect for a solid crew of middle-aged character actors rather than the pretty gamblers of Robert Luketic’s film. Also, as seen by “High Fidelity”, Frears knows how to take a particular group’s interests and approach to life without trying to make it seem cool and hip because he’s not afraid to highlight how and why these people are outcasts in the first place.
Hopefully this project will come together because the material sounds perfect for Frears and “Lay the Favorite” could be the film that achieves the box office success that escaped “High Fidelity” back in 2000.